The Phillies have already struck this offseason, agreeing to an $11-year contract worth $300 million with shortstop Trea Turner. They’ve done so again, signing starting pitcher Taijuan Walker, as reported by FanSided’s Robert Murray:
Free-agent pitcher Taijuan Walker is close to a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, according to sources familiar with the deal.
— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) December 7, 2022
The contract is for four years and $72 million, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan:
Taijuan Walker’s deal with the Philadelphia Phillies is for four years and $72 million, sources tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 7, 2022
Walker had a 3.49 ERA in 2022 with the Mets in 29 starts. Turner will be entering his age-30 season in 2023 with the Phils. He previously made the All-Star team in 2021, his lone career trip to the Midsummer Classic.
Fangraphs ranked him as the 22nd-best overall free agent and 11th-best starting pitcher free agent this offseason, writing:
He’s good! He threw his splitter more this season and profited. He used it quite a lot against both lefties and righties, cutting down on sinkers to fit it into his pitch mix. That’s a great change, because Walker’s sinker is uninspiring while his splitter is excellent. He even improved the pitch this year: He throws it with almost no induced vertical movement now, and it simply falls off the table while fading to his arm side. [FanGraphs]
The move brings extra stability to a rotation that will now have good depth between Walker, Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola and Ranger Suárez. It also takes pressure off the Phillies’ talented minor league pitchers Andrew Painter, Mick Abel and Griff McGarry to come to the majors ASAP this season.
Walker immediately took to Twitter to share a video of the intro from the iconic “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”
He knows the deal for any new Phillie: endear yourself quickly and easily to the fan base.
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